Six beds added to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Royal University Hospital (RUH) in Saskatoon are making a huge difference to the unit.

The NICU is where newborn babies who need intensive medical attention are admitted. The NICU combines advanced technology and trained health care professionals to provide specialized care for our tiniest patients.  

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Royal University Hospital.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Royal University Hospital.

As of December 1, the number of NICU beds at RUH increased from 32 to 38 through the addition of six bassinettes and the establishment of a new bay near the main NCIU.

“We had been working to increase our number of beds over the last year as our capacity in NICU Is frequently overextended to accommodate greater patient numbers,” said Adele Riehl, Manager of the NICU and NICU Transport for Saskatoon Health Region. “The newest bay, Bay 7, has been opened intermittently over the past year, but physician resources were not in place to safely sustain its continuous operation. Now that we have the necessary physician resources, that space is a permanent NICU space.”

This increase in bed numbers will help to ensure Saskatchewan infants receive the care they need within the province. It will also support the unit’s ability to care for pregnant women at risk of requiring NICU services post-delivery.

Having those extra spaces was welcome in December, when the unit was at or near capacity for most of the month, even over the Christmas season.

“We had not anticipated needing the bed increase over Christmas, as we have historically been quiet over the holiday, but this year was different and definitely unexpected,” said Riehl. “It was great that we had the extra space to care for the little ones in need.”